Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ouyen quick trip

Last weekend Joy and I did a 6 hour drive to Ouyen for an overnight visit. We left Melbourne at about 1000 on Saturday and got back home at about 1700 on Sunday.
Galahs in the early morning light

After we checked in to the motel on Saturday we did a quick trip into Hattah Lakes National Park. The lakes are still full and there are plenty of water birds. The water levels are falling so I expect it will be possible to get into the campgrounds this summer.
Pink-eared Duck Family at the edge of submerged Red-gum saplings

We saw our first ever Pink-eared Duck duckling so I guess they bred nearby and Choughs and Apostlebirds also had young chasing them for a feed. Pink-eared Ducks used to be known as Zebra Ducks and the stripes are certainly easier to see than the small pink ear patch. A flock of Hoary-headed Grebes were working together to hunt fish in the muddy waters but not many of the larger birds such as cormorants and Pelicans were seen in the hour or so we were there.
Hoary-headed Grebe

Hoary-headed grebe hunting together

Bluebonnets in flight

Bluebonnet pair in the morning light

Immature White-winged Chough

Adult White-winged Chough with native cockroach

The place we chose to go birding on Sunday was Honeymoon Track in Murray-Sunset National Park. It is a reasonably remote area where basic 4X4 drive is recommended and there are some wonderful birds. Parrots are everywhere and at this time of year and there are always plenty of woodswallows and bush birds. Out over the wheat fields before the park starts our passing flushed a flock of Bluebonnets and they paced the car at 60 kmh for about 2 km allowing time for me to get a few flight shots of this very shy bird.
Chestnut-Dumped Thornbill

Immature Black-faced Woodswallow

Immature White-browed Woodswallow

White-browed Woodswallows, one with an abnormal white face

Striated Pardalote

White-winged Chough

Mulga Parrot

The old Wimlet Tank has been aggressively bulldozed into a larger dam and has lost some of its charm but I guess it will hold more water and have better access for fire fighting needs. Hopefully the old ground cover will one day return and it will even start to look attractive again. The birds certainly still like it though and in the hour or so that we watched there was a constant stream of them coming in to drink.
Bearded Dragon

Western Grey Kangaroo

Wimlet Tank
Lake Hattah Campground

All text & images © Jenny Spry

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